By Rick Gladstone
The pension board of the United Methodist Church — one of the largest Protestant denominations in the United States, with more than seven million members — has placed five Israeli banks on a list of companies that it will not invest in for human rights reasons, the board said in a statementon Tuesday.
It appeared to be the first time that a pension fund of a large American church had taken such a step regarding the Israeli banks, which help finance settlement construction in what most of the world considers illegally occupied Palestinian
There was no immediate comment from Israeli officials.Palestinian advocates, both in and outside the church, described the step as an important advance in the Boycott, Divest and Sanction campaign, or B.D.S., an international effort to pressure Israel economically over the Palestinian issue. Others within the church, however, called those claims misleading, noting that the church remains invested in other Israeli companies and that members had overwhelmingly opposed divestment resolutions.
Nonetheless, the inclusion of Israeli banks on what is essentially a blacklist compiled by the pension board of a large American church, appears bound to upset the Israeli government, which devotes considerable effort to combating resolutions by academic institutions, businesses and church organizations to divest from Israeli companies over the issue of Israeli settlements and the occupation of Palestinian lands held since the 1967 war.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel has described the divestment movement as a campaign to destroy Israel.
"And what does the Lord require of you but to DO JUSTICE, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God." (Micah 6:8)
Purpose: The General Board of Church & Society is to be the bearer of the Social Principles of the United Methodist Church. This mission is to develop programs that provides education and action on issues confronting the church that are consistent with the Social Principles and the policies adopted by the General Conference of The United Methodist Church.
John Wesley was a forthright advocate on prison reform, human rights, abuse of spirituous liquors, labor justice, healthcare, slavery, the humane treatment of animals. Slavery was a divisive issue within the church during the 18th and 19th Centuries with many Methodist taking strong abolitionist positions while others were less forthright. The women's rights movement, the labor reform movement, the temperance movement and the Civil Rights movement all saw leadership from a number of courageous and prophetic Methodist voices.
Dear Church Leaders,
Can I count on your support for something important to many people across our church?
Peace with Justice Sunday is coming May 22, 2016. This Special Sunday of The United Methodist Church makes possible our ongoing ministries of peace and reconciliation.
We have prepared a special toolkit with everything you need to lead your congregation to promote peace and justice. The ready-to-use resources will save you time and energy.
Access your Pastor and Leader's Kit now!
Peace with Justice grant applicants must strive to achieve at least one of the following objectives:
I pray that this toolkit will empower you to lead your congregation to stand with us.
Churches are encouraged to take the Peace with Justice Offering the first Sunday after Pentecost or on another Sunday during the year. Litanies and prayers suitable for Peace with Justice Sunday are available from the Peace with Justice Program. Free posters and offering envelopes can be ordered from the General Board.
A new PwJ Grant form has been developed. If you and your congregation have a project in mind and need a few dollars to launch or continue it, download the document and check it out! The project goals should focus on peace building, reduction of violence, reconciliation, reduction of poverty, global health, and/or the care of God's creation and contain a focus on making changes to the root, structure, or political framework that would create more justice and fairness. Grant applications are due November of each year. Evaluations and finalization of award recipients will be announced by the end of the year. Payments are made in January the following year.
Social Principles Ministries: Know and live out the church’s social principles
The transformative workshop: Serve as a prophetic witness to the world
Building Beloved Communities for Peace: Embrace Christ’s witness of mercy and compassion for all persons
Learn your way to Peace with Justice Grant Effectiveness: Learn how to ask for what you need in funding and get it.
John Wesley & Social Justice: What was Wesley’s thoughts on how to implement social change and implement social justice
Social Justice is Not Socialism: Learn to distinguish between social causes and justice issues versus socialism